Ciudad del Carmen

"Isla del Carmen" and "Carmen Island" redirect here. For the island in Baja California, see Isla del Carmen (Baja California).
Ciudad del Carmen
View of the city from the Terminos Lagoon

Ciudad del Carmen
Coordinates: 18°38′N 91°50′W / 18.633°N 91.833°W / 18.633; -91.833Coordinates: 18°38′N 91°50′W / 18.633°N 91.833°W / 18.633; -91.833
Country Mexico
State Campeche
Municipality Carmen
City Founded July 16, 1717
  Mayor Pablo Gutierrez Lazarus (PAN)
Elevation 2 m (6,6 ft)
Population (INEGI2010)
  Total 169,466
  Demonym Carmelita
Time zone Central (US Central) (UTC−6)
  Summer (DST) Central (UTC−5)
Area code(s) 938
Major Airport Ciudad del Carmen International Airport

Ciudad del Carmen is a city in the southwest of the Mexican state of Campeche. Ciudad del Carmen is located at 18°38′N 91°50′W / 18.63°N 91.83°W / 18.63; -91.83 on the southwest of Carmen Island, which stands in the Laguna de Términos on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As of 2010, Ciudad del Carmen had a population of 169,466,[1] up from the 2005 census of 154,197. In July 2006 Ciudad del Carmen celebrated its 150th anniversary as a city.

The city is nicknamed "The Pearl of the Gulf". Ciudad del Carmen was a small city mostly devoted to fishing until the 1970s when oil was discovered in the region; since then it has grown and developed substantially. To this day Carmen is known as one of the best locations to find seafood in Mexico. As late as the early 1980s the city could long be reached only by ferry boats called "pangas" or small motorboats ("lanchas") operating between Ciudad del Carmen and Zacatal; this changed with the construction of a causeway bridge to the mainland in the 1980s (eastbound) and another one in 1994 (westbound). The construction of the first bridge was motivated by the sinking of one of the island's pangas which resulted in the death of nearly everyone on board. The bridge Puente El Zacatal, constructed in 1994, is one of the longest in Latin America.

This border area at the western edge of the Yucatán Peninsula was previously part of the state of Yucatán, then of Tabasco; since 1863 it has been part of the state of Campeche. In 1840 the city had a population of about 7,000.

The city is also the seat of the state of Campeche's Carmen municipality, which includes the city and the surrounding area. The 2010 census population of the municipality of Carmen was 221,094 people, second only to the capital municipality of Campeche.[1]

The main university in Ciudad del Carmen is the Universidad Autónoma del Carmen (UNACAR).


Founded in the pre-Hispanic era, Ciudad del Carmen was an important location which served to connect the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Between the 16th and 18th centuries when the city of Campeche was a trade hub between Spain and New Spain (Mexico), Ciudad del Carmen was inhabited by pirates and served as a port for repairing ships and planning attacks against the Spanish. A 1699 map of the Bay of Campeche indicates Isla del Carmen as two islands: Tieste I. and Port Royal I. On the opposite side of the lagoon there is a waterway marked as Logwood Creek; this indicates that the residents were probably English and logging was another of their activities.

The city got its current name on July 16, 1717, in honor of the Virgin of Carmen, believed to be the protector of the island, when the Spanish forces, commanded by Alonso Felipe de Andrade evicted the pirates from the island and took control the city after a long period of occupation. Since then, every year at the end of July, Ciudad del Carmen turns into the very center of the regional social, cultural and religious festivities, on the fair that celebrates the island's protector virgin .


Ciudad del Carmen is located on an island covering an area of 11,513 hectares (28,449 acres), the island is 40 kilometres (25 mi) in length and is 6 to 8 kilometres (4 to 5 mi) in its widest parts. The island is mainly 2 to 3 metres (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) above sea level.


Ciudad del Carmen is the head of Carmen municipality.


Like most of the cities along the Yucatan's gulf coast, Ciudad del Carmen exhibits a Tropical savanna climate. The city, situated on Carmen Island, has a pronounced dry season that lasts from January through May, with the wet season finishing out the year. September and October bring copious rainfall, with both months averaging well over 200 millimeters.


The vast majority of habitants in Ciudad del Carmen comes from other places. This extreme emigration and immigration pattern displays a diversity in culture and lifestyle, the petroleum industry is in part the responsible of this phenomenon that results into a rich and extraordinary culture mix.


In the mid 1970s Ciudad del Carmen was transformed from a fishing and shrimping city into a hub for oil when Pemex discovered large amounts of petroleum off the coast. Ever since, Carmen has become a home for Mexican and foreign oil workers alike, including many Texans, and now houses many foreign companies .


  1. 1 2 "Carmen". Catálogo de Localidades. Secretaría de Desarrollo Social (SEDESOL). Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  2. "World Weather Online - Ciudad del Carmen". World Weather Online. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
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